The age-old tension between liberty and security has never loomed larger for the American people - and that tension is being felt on a number of fronts.
The advent of computers has given companies and government the ability to collect massive amounts of data on individuals. That raises the threat to liberty exponentially.
In the wake of a deranged man's murder of 20 first-graders and six teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School, some thought the response - at minimum - should be background checks on all gun purchasers.
Although proponents of the measure specifically denied that it would lead to a national registry of firearms owners, some defenders of the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms were not mollified.
They pointed out that all the elements necessary for creation of a registry would be in place.
Then came the news that the Internal Revenue Service had targeted conservative groups prior to the 2010 presidential election.
The IRS said rogue employees in the Cincinnati office were responsible for selecting groups that had "tea party" or "patriot" in their names for special
attention. Few believed that - and a couple of IRS agents in Cincinnati have since disputed it.